Bernstein: Watching The Sox Is Torture

By Dan Bernstein– Senior Columnist

(CBS) I wish I knew which train was carrying the dirty bomb. Trust me, I’d have told you.

Nuclear launch codes? Sure. Um…Tango, Echo, five, seven, Foxtrot, seven, niner? No? Can I try again?

How about the identities of deep-cover operatives? I’m pretty sure the guy at the end of the block is KGB. Or NSA. Something. Maybe the Mossad.

Just, please, make me stop watching the White Sox try to hit.

I have never seen anything like this, whatever this is, and it burns my eyes. It also gives me abdominal cramping, headache, itching, dizziness and hallucinations.

The numbers say the Sox have scored 352 runs this year, which has to be a damn lie. If my calculations are correct, they have scored a total of zero runs this year, have won no games, and have grounded into 27,667 double plays.

There have been games – I’m sure of it – in which the Sox never even batted. What would be the point?

Because I’m an idiot, I seem to have figured out that defiantly turning off the television is a powerful, effective protest. “That’ll show ‘em,” part of my brain thinks, as I flick the switch after another Carlos Quentin popup, AJ Pierzynski grounder to second or Brent Morel swing at ball four, five, six, seven and eight.

There is always a brief sense of relief. I pick up a book, or sit at the computer for a while as the pain subsides.

And then what do I do, every single time? I turn the game back on, only to see that there are runners at second and third and nobody out. The batter is always either Omar Vizquel or Juan Pierre. They don’t score. They never score. They never have scored.

The rest of the AL Central is in on this, too. I have to watch because the standings somehow show that Sox are actually still competing. According to Baseball Prospectus, they still have a 25.1 percent chance of making the playoffs this year.

It must be a nice existence, sometimes, to be an algorithm instead of a person with eyes and ears. Consuming baseball with no consciousness, thought or feeling, running millions of programmed simulations and calculating ranges of probability without once actually having to watch Edwin Jackson labor through a 37-pitch inning, Adam Dunn wave at a belt-high changeup, or an opposing basestealer slide in without a throw. How liberating to live only in a blissful baseball matrix, where there’s no awareness, no pain, no “Dadgummit!” or “He just missed it.”

If that algorithm could sit next to me and watch, it would know better. But it may then quit analyzing baseball and seek happier work at an insurance company or the IRS.

This is excruciating, and it doesn’t stop. In fact it gets worse — now the Twins are in town, which is like watching Sox baseball while wearing sandpaper underpants and thumbscrews. No team has a knack for inflicting discomfort like Ron Gardenhire’s bunch, regardless of how good they may be.

You say “Carl Pavano, Nick Blackburn, Brian Duensing and Anthony Swarzak” right now, and I hear “Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax and Walter Johnson,” the way things feel.

But I can’t help it. I’ll be watching again, waiting for that next moment to zap the screen to black after somebody gets tagged out on a botched squeeze play. Then I’ll come back just in time for a line-shot double play with runners at the corners and one out in the eighth.

My only hope is that Amnesty International intervenes sometime before 7:00.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Watching The Sox Is Torture
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
Listen to The Boers and Bernstein Show podcasts >>

More from Dan Bernstein
  • Larry Horse's Arse

    You hit the nail on the head Bernsie.
    I started out this Spring with such optimism for the Sox and then…pffft.

    • Mike in Madison

      Is it your goal to be the first to comment on every Berns piece?

  • Your Gay

    Quit talkin’ hackey!!! Talk more hackey!!! I’m back, Danny boy!

    • Lil' Bycracke

      Did you bring Terry’s ottoman back with you?

  • tom Sharp

    Don’t you find it more than a little ironic that the major sport that truly sucks most in terms of talent is the only one not on the brink of financial disaster. This too shall pass. There are far too many truly mediocre $10 million+/year guys playing the game, including about 8 to 10 in Chicago. The fans will stay home rather than lay out close to $100/ticket to watch these jokers.

    • Lil' Bycracke

      You can also thank McCourt for making a negative financial impact on MLB while making a mockery of a sport as well.

      It is also quite possible he’ll be the reason for Cuban gaining entry to the MLB ownership club.

      But yes, the talent does suck compared to other pro sports now.

  • Jake

    It is torture, and I feel sick most days because of this team, Dan. But can’t we still try to do something? Like bat Dunn at leadoff? Like send Morel to AAA and plug in Viciedo? Ozzie’s bunch is so lackluster, so fundamentally unsound (as they have been for years), I won’t be sorry to see him go. Of course, I’ll miss him and we may still stink afterwards. But we have to try something…

  • Bronzo

    Bravo Danny Boy!! I agree 100% As a die hard Sox fan I also find this team almost unwatchable. I don’t think i have ever seen a team leave more men on base, strikeout , pop- up or hit into more double plays in my enitre life. I’ve been watching basball for most of my 47 years….and this is brutal.

    And what makes it worse….I don’t see it getting much better anytime soon.
    The sad thing is I’m like a junkie…I’ll be watching tonight.


    That sounds about right, Dan.

    And, I like to consider an evil malaria permeating every nook of Wrigley Field. It would explain how the personnel changes, but the results remain the same.
    I don’t know what causes it in a 20 year-old ball park.
    You said it yesterday: when someone is called up to be the savior, it’s a lot different than an organization that calls up a player with the “you know, you can always go back to the boondocks. . .” hanging over them.

  • Chet Coppock

    You know

  • big time sucker

    you could replace sox with cubs and write the same damn article. i have watched a total of 1 whole game this year, a cubs sox game one of the ones that eminated from the cell and i couldn’t stand it, it was torture to watch. Now take the pathetic state of chicago baseball, and my situation. I have been a cubs fan as long as i have memories. I have been to more sox games however due to increased ticket availability so yes i have a fondness for the sox save when they play the cubs. and i am down here in central Illinois and it’s 60% cardinals fans. I can’t watch cardinal baseball, it’s not in my DNA to watch it, yet, OBJECTIVELY, i have to say i appretiate cardinal baseball for the fact that they play solid winning baseball year in and year out. There for my only course of action is to abandon the sport i love and wait for football, except in it’s present state, the only football i am guarenteed to watch is college, adn i hate college football.

    that is torture


    Tiger isn’t playing.
    Retired players want a seat at the table.
    Superman was killed in Dallas, there’s no love left in the palace, and someone took the Beatles’ lead gutiar.

    And, in the back of every Bears fans’ mind is the thought that the offense is still a question mark. Even Hester says so.
    Time to gear up for le hockey!

    • Joakim's bong

      WILSON!, are you related to SPAULDING!?

      • Cameltoe Rancher

        GREAT handle Jb!

  • big time sucker

    we went from sporting nirvana last winter to the great sports depression over the course of 3 months. 3 MONTHS!!! next thing you know, your local sports bar will be showing reruns of Law and Order SVU on the USA channel as opposed to a ball game because the ball game just ain’t worth it.

  • Peter Bergeron

    A caller on M&H asked the hosts what happens if Jeter gets his 3000th hit during the All Star Game.

    ???? duurrrrr

    • Jeffrey Hobbs

      as it turns out, it’s a moot question.

  • TeetsMcGee

    Lets just say I’ve kept a close eye on this NFL lockout buisness. Is it too early to start looking forward to next baseball season?

    • big time sucker

      yeah it’s early, i personally have 2013 as the season at least on the north side when everybody SHOULD be ready to contend. Castro should be competent on defense, colvin should be playing everyday, kashner should be at ace level, barney a good 2nd baseman and so on and so forth.

    • Denver Deadite

      Why would anybody think either the Sox or the Cubs will be any better next year?

  • mike in davenport

    See, now at least the Cubs have crossed over to the magic land of fun-bad. All the frustration is gone, and I am in that weird zone where I actually want to see how bad it can get.

    It would be frustrating to be a Sox fan right now.

  • Del

    Give it a rest bernstein, Marrioti is hated and gone because of the same sort of exaggerated pessimistic articles he wrote. Fact is, the Sox are 2 games under .500 and underachieving, their pitching staff is tremendous and keeping them going right now, until they get the bats in order they will be a close to .500 team, excruciating to watch? I can think of plenty of other teams to give that title to, including another team that aren’t the sox in Chicago, that is now 18 games under .500. In other words, lets keep your crying and kidney stone passing to yourself.

    • big time sucker

      del, the difference is that bernstein is coming from an angle of a guy who actually WANTS to see the sox win, Marrioti always thought that teams from chicago SHOULD win due to their market size but always hoped they would lose so he could write negative things about it. Bernstein is writing with a broken heart where mariotti was writing with dollar signs in his eyes. don’t put them in the same class

      • AT3374

        Plus Dan is slightly taller than Jay …but only slightly

      • Bronzo

        Well played BTS

    • Del

      That’s debatable whether he actually WANTS the sox to win anything, or whether he has a broken heart lol. What isn’t as debatable is bernstein writing this article to take advantage of being able to pour it on the sox in the middle of a mediocre season, I tend to believe that moreso then bernstein having a broken heart. I stick with my original point, that the sox are underachieving and there is no reason to write an article like this being 2 games under .500 and 4.5 games out.

      • Joakim Noah

        Im stoned too

      • Del

        I’m all for the cubs failing offensively and defensively, but I want to see a personnel change for the sox, Walker is done

      • Dannys anal bleeding

        Im a die sox, white fan.

      • Mike in Milwaukee

        Im a stoned Whitesox fan.

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        Yeah, Jaramillo is doing a splendid job. They’re last in the league in walks, 20th in OBP, and averaging two-hundredths of a run more per game than the apparently woeful Walker-led Sox. Gotta love those empty spray singles.

        I once heard Jaramillo is the highest-paid hitting coach in baseball. Apparently part of the Jaramillo strategy is to avoid taking a pitch.

      • Del

        And if you want to look at that from a statisical perspective, the Cubs are actually 8th in baseball AVG the sox are 17th, whereas pitching ERA wise the cubs are 27th and the sox are 12th, so there ya go

      • Del

        Also, its time to get rid of Greg Walker, its past that time actually, bernstein should be writing articles about how horrendously bad walker has been for the sox for years now, and how this team has gone into offensive slumps throughout the past 5 seasons that have led to huge multiple losing streaks, that would be a better dissection of this team then purely blasting them in a ridiculously exaggerated article

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        …Because hitting coaches have such a profound effect on player performance.

        “By gosh, I was lost, but when the new hitting coach came in, I realized I was swinging and missing… when I should have been swinging and MAKING CONTACT!”

        Dunn isn’t suddenly bad because of Greg Walker. So, was Carlos Quentin suddenly a masher because of Walker’s influence?

        Hitting Coaches are essentially good for one thing- an extra guy to take a punch for your superstar when the benches clear.

      • Del

        Then i sure am baffled as to why they get paid Chris, oh yea, must be to work on batting stances, or find issues with how players are swinging the bat and correct them, or maybe to work on bunting and/or swinging at good pitches vs. swinging with reckless abandonment, which Alexei Ramirez has done since he joined the sox. Ya, I remember now that’s why hitting coaches get paid, i’m glad I was able to remind myself that after you almost convinced me they were simply getting paid to take shots to the jaw in bench clearing brawls LOL.

      • Bronzo


        Outside of Beckham all these guys slumping are multi-year veterans Rios, Dunn, Quentin, Pierre, Vizquel should I keep going…Hitting coaches have little or no effect on teams…look at the Cubs Rudy Jarimillo (sic) is supposed to be the best in the business. How’s that working for them?

      • Del

        I think Jarimillo is working better for the cubs, then walker is for the sox, despite their record, the cubs are probably better offensively then the sox, and they have nowhere near the potential. The cubs suck because their pitching and defense is awful. If they had sub par pitching/bullpen they would probably be near or a little above .500 in the central

  • Dr That Doesn't Help People

    Just read about the man that was mauled and killed by a mother grizzly bear with two cubs in Yellowstone and it made me realize that there is still a natural order and there are still good things in this world. A small but delightful victory for the bears and mother nature! Now if only an Elephant would trample a zookeeper in the next hour or two my day would become completely awesome. C’mon Dan and Terry, I know you completely agree with me.

    • AT3374

      You talking about Kevin James in the Zoo Keeper ? ………

      • Dr That Doesn't Help People

        Yes, a trampling of Kevin James would suffice to make my day more awesome.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    The best part was that the CIA made captured Al Qaeda operatives listen to Farmeo’s Sox pbp from April……and they gave up where Bin Laden was hidden.


    I remember Rooftop Bum. Wasn’t there a “Slappy McPopup” also?

    I miss them. I believe the were captured by an entity (a poltergeist, a specter) that was a paraphysical physical manifestation of bad baseball.



    It doesn’t matter which of our Chicago baseball you are a fan of. Watching the White Sox & Cubs this season is like getting your teeth pulled at the dentist…Very, very painful! In the Sox case in particular, you saw proof positive why this team that’s supposed to be “ALL IN” this year will soon be “ALL OUT”. In the bottom 6th yesterday vs. the Royals, CF Alex Rios, 2B Gordon Beckham & LF Juan Pierre lead off with 3 straight singles to load the bases. Looked good, right? 3B Brent Morel, 1B Paul Konerko & RF Carlos Quentin all failed to drive home Beckham & Pierre, while DH Adam Dunn sandwiched in between walked home the ONLY run of the game for the Southsiders. The Sox had just 5 hits in their 4-1 loss to a bad KC team yesterday as we all know. While the Twins still have a lot of injuries coming into U.S. Cellular Field starting tonight here on 670 The SCORE & the TOYOTA Chicago White Sox Radio Network, they are a mindboggling 26-6 in the last 32 games vs. the Sox. No matter how hard they try, it seems like the Sox are Wile E. Coyote and the Twins are the Road Runner, like in those classic Warner Bros. cartoons from the mid 1950s that I grew up watching as a kid. In plain English, no matter what Ozzie tries to do, it always explodes in this team’s face vs. a Twins’ team that simply has the Southsiders’ number, much like what always happened to the Coyote vs. the Road Runner in those cartoons…

  • dumb*ss cracker

    Dunn is a bum!! I would rather have Dimitri Young.

  • Jeff

    Is this Larry Horse’s Arse a Bernstein stalker?

    Guy is obsessed.

  • Ry

    I’m glad I’m not the only person who finds following the Sox heart-wrenching agony. Every time I turn the TV off, I turn it right back on a few moments later. As much as I wish I didn’t care so much about the status of the Sox, I do care because it’s in my blood.

    I remember Bernstein made a similar point about fed-up Cub fans who said they were done with their baseball team. It just doesn’t end that way. You don’t stop caring through one defiant statement. It just happens without you even noticing.

  • Todd

    I could not agree more. This is exactly how I watch the Sox. Turn them off for a little while only to turn it back on for the same old thing. I told myself a few weeks ago I wasn’t going to watch until they got over 500, then the got to 500, I watched a few games of awful baseball against KC and now the Twins are in town. Arggg. I guess it could be worse, we could all be Cubs fans right now.

  • Jaimie in Hoffman Estates

    Im not a huge Rozner fan, i would rather Bernsie fly solo, or how about Matty, co host? Terrys gone till next Thursday, i might not listen that much.

  • Myron Jenkins

    You can say the same about the Mariners. We sometimes joke about being able to hold our breath in the time it takes for them to make 3 outs in the 9th when behind by one run, and about how every pitcher has their best day ever and how other hitters seem to bat 1.125 against us. And “bases loaded nobody out” means nothing but heartache. When we bat, there’s a brick wall between third and home; when the opponent bats, there’s nothing but a welcome mat.

  • Hub Arkush's Earring

    You want torture??? Try listening to 670AM between 1 and 6PM!

    • Howard

      I agree. Listening to the gigglers Bores and Bumstein is as low as radio can go. Wish that they would leave town & they can take that sack of garbage Dunn along with them.

      • Murphs Upper-Lip

        You seem to be listening to “as low as radio can go.” quite a bit. Why wouldn’t you turn the dial to something you enjoy? Why torture yourself?

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